Did Louisiana School Famed for Viral College Acceptance Videos Fake Records?

An explosive New York Times report claims T.M. Landry College Prep of falsified transcripts and fostered "a culture of fear."

A Louisiana school famous for sending black students to elite colleges allegedly falsified records and overstated applicants' accomplishments, according to a new report.

T.M. Landry College Preparatory school has been praised for sending 100 percent of its graduates to college, but the New York Times reports the institution was not what it seemed. 

Landry students have gotten into Yale, Brown, Princeton, Stanford, Columbia and Cornell, based on false transcripts and made-up community activities, the paper said.

Videos of students reacting to their admissions to top universities have gone viral.

The prep school, run by Michael Landry, a teacher and former salesman, and his wife, supplied a steady stream of accomplished applicants to elite schools hungry for diversity in its student populations, the Times said.

According to interviews with students, graduates and their families, the school also allegedly fostered a climate of fear based on physical and emotional abuse that included being forced to kneel on rice and hot pavement, and being choked, screamed at and berated.

The colleges “want to be able to get behind the black kids going off and succeeding, and going to all of these schools,” Raymond Smith Jr., who graduated from T.M. Landry in 2017 and enrolled at New York University, told the Times. 

“It’s a good look,” these colleges “getting these bright, high-flying, came-from-nothing-turned-into-something students,” Smith said.

The Landrys denied falsifying transcripts and college applications, in an interview with the paper. Michael Landry acknowledged hitting students in the past, but said he no longer does.